By Stewart Mandel
September 09, 2011
College Football Pickoff: Week 2
Friday, Sept. 9
10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 21 Missouri (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0)
ASU has planned a blackout for its primetime showcase despite several recent examples of blackouts backfiring. But the Sun Devils are primed for their biggest game in several years, and Vontaze Burfict and Co. should cause problems for Tigers quarterback James Franklin, who threw for just 129 yards in his starting debut last week against Miami (Ohio).
Saturday, Sept. 10
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 3 Alabama (1-0) at No. 23 Penn State (1-0)
Nick Saban expects a stiffer challenge this week than when the Tide routed the Nittany Lions 24-3 in Tuscaloosa last season. And while it's true new Alabama quarterbacks A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims did little last week against Kent State to inspire confidence heading into their first road test, Saban's defense is even more dominant than the last time these two teams met.
4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 12 South Carolina (1-0) at Georgia (0-1)
Last week I picked Georgia solely on intangibles -- and things did not go well. The Bulldogs did little against No. 5 Boise State to make me think they'll fare better against another ranked foe, even at home. South Carolina was far from flawless itself in a 56-37 win over East Carolina, but its defense is more familiar with the Bulldogs' pro-style offense.
Noon No. 16 Mississippi State (1-0) at Auburn (1-0)
Mississippi State -- the school that ratted out Cam Newton's dad -- will not be well received at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Newton himself is no longer there to save the day. Last year's BCS champions are fielding a young defense that got bullied by Utah State last week, which does not bode well heading into a matchup with Chris Relf and Vick Ballard.
7 p.m. ET (ESPN2) BYU (1-0) at No. 24 Texas (1-0)
Texas' revamped running game got off to a good start last week against Rice, led by freshman Malcolm Brown's 86 yards on 16 carries. This week the 'Horns will face a much tougher BYU defensive front, one that held Ole Miss to 2.2 yards per carry last week. But Texas' defensive line is also stout and will bring too much pressure for Cougars quarterback Jake Heaps.
3:30 p.m. ET (Versus) No. 25 TCU (0-1) at Air Force (1-0)
Gary Patterson's team needs to right its ship in a hurry after last week's 50-48 loss at Baylor. TCU narrowly beat Air Force 20-17 in its last trip to Colorado Springs, but an inexperienced secondary will catch a break against the Falcons, who use the pass sparingly. The Frogs should get their running game going while slowing down Air Force's.
8 p.m. ET (ABC) Notre Dame (0-1) at Michigan (1-0)
Don't be fooled by last week's ND-USF result: When they weren't coughing up turnovers, the Irish were dominant on both sides of the ball. Denard Robinson went off for 500-plus yards in last year's meeting, but this Notre Dame defense is more athletic up front. Michigan will struggle to run the ball, while Tommy Rees and Michael Floyd are poised for another big game.
7:30 p.m. ET (Versus) Utah (1-0) at USC (1-0)
There are so many storylines for Utah's Pac-12 debut: Norm Chow vs. his former employer, Jordan Wynn trying to recover from last week's "abysmal" performance against Montana State, Lane Kiffin trying to find more than "two good players on offense." The return of Marc Tyler should bolster USC's attack while its defense frustrates Wynn.
Noon (FSN) Iowa (1-0) at Iowa State (1-0)
That embarrassing Cy-Hawk trophy is no more, and there's no massive downpour forecast for Saturday. But the Hawkeyes have throttled the Cyclones the past two seasons, 35-3 and 35-7, and Iowa State's offense -- which needed a last-second touchdown to survive Northern Iowa last week -- will again struggle to move the ball against Iowa's reliable defense.
3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2) Cincinnati (1-0) at Tennessee (1-0)
UPSET SPECIAL: The Bearcats slipped from 12-1 to 4-8 in coach Butch Jones' first season, but they're still loaded with offensive skill talent (quarterback Zach Collaros, running back Isaiah Pead, receiver D.J. Woods) and put up 72 on Austin Peay last week. They're facing a suspect Vols defense with a particularly depleted secondary. It's the perfect recipe for an upset.
Record Last Week: 6-4
Week 2 Preview
Previewing the best Week 2 action, including Alabama-Penn State, Notre Dame-Michigan and more.

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